456 Berea Street redesign notes
The redesign I mentioned in Redesigning: please pardon my dust has now been rolled out. There will probably be some issues left to deal with, but I am not aware of any major breakage going on in any browser of significance. If you’re reading this in a graphical web browser, reload to make sure you have the new CSS and images. If you’re in a feed reader, come for a visit.
I ended the post I just mentioned by asking which designer my readers think I collaborated with for this redesign. A lot of names were mentioned, some of them humorous (thanks for the laughs!), most of them serious and actually quite reasonable guesses. Had this been an election, however, there would be no doubt about the winner: Veerle Pieters. And you were right.
When I first talked to Veerle about this project I told her I wanted a new and fresh look without being so different that returning readers wouldn’t recognise the site. The grasshopper image in the header is very characteristic of this site, but as I had grown a bit tired of it I was considering removing it or making it a lot smaller. Veerle quickly convinced me that the grasshopper had to stay, so it’s still around.
I also wanted to avoid making major changes to the HTML structure to speed up the process. I find few things are as stressful as not having a solid markup foundation to fall back on. Add to that the fact that I have no development version of the site and have to make all markup changes live, and you may understand why I was hesitating. But after seeing the first layout draft I realised I was going to have to compromise on that point.
Veerle also had to compromise. First of all she would have preferred to do a complete redesign and start from scratch. I didn’t want that, which made her feel a little constrained creatively. And some of the text colours in the design Veerle sent me, though very lovely and bright, were a little low in contrast and had to be changed slightly for the sake of readability. I didn’t want to change the colours she picked too much though, so I actually didn’t go all the way when adjusting them. That’s right, there are a couple of colour combinations that will not pass both the brightness and colour difference tests in tools such as Jonathan Snook’s Colour Contrast Check.
I compromised. Veerle compromised. And that’s an important thing to realise about web design. We both had to make compromises to make the end result better. Such is the life of the web professional. But it was a fun project that we both learned from. Read Veerle’s thoughts on the project in Plastic surgery on 456 Berea Street.
I hope you like the result - I do. Being something of a perfectionist I know that there is always room for improvement though. There will most probably be a little tweaking going on as I become aware of issues and find time to do something about them.
And now something I’m a little nervous about asking, but here goes: What do you think?